Speed was at a premium, and spectators got a glimpse of the possible future of Howard County football during Monday night's slate of football games.
Due to heavy rain throughout last week, Friday night's games were moved to synthetic turf fields at three locations throughout the county: Cedar Lane Park, Rockburn Branch Park and Western Regional Park.
"I was really appreciative of the county for taking care of it, because I know they talked about not playing games and that would have been a shame, playing a nine-game season," said Atholton coach Kyle Schmitt, whose team defeated Howard, 28-7, at Rockburn Branch Park.
Players and coaches alike praised the consistent and flat field surfaces that allowed them to leverage speed for big yards and touchdowns.
"It's a fast surface, and I never got a chance to play little league football, I started when I was in high school so it gave me a chance to see what it feels like to play rec," said Atholton wide receiver DeQuan Ellison, who caught seven passes for 165 yards and a touchdown from Brian McMahon.
Hammond's Devon Paye, who ran for 193 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-13 win over Mt. Hebron, said that playing at Rockburn reminded him of when he played youth football on synthetic surfaces.
"It brought me back to the old days, it felt the same, it felt good," said Paye, who also racked up 49 return yards. "You can get your cuts better and it just feels better."
Because of the advantages of artificial turf — low maintenance, better drainage, faster surface — more than a few coaches and athletics and activities managers around the county think that turf surfaces will begin to replace the traditional grass fields at Howard County high schools the same way that lights began sprouting up back in 2004.
"I wish we could play on this every week," Schmitt said.
Read on for highlights of all six games played Monday night.
Wilde Lake 40, Oakland Mills 7 (Cedar Lane Park)
Wilde Lake's Antoine Barnes rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns on only five carries and Anthony Miller ran for 84 and a score while also returning a punt 55 yards for a touchdown as the Wildecats routed Oakland Mills, 40-7, Monday at Cedar Lane Park. Mike Smith returned a kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown and also made five sacks.
The Scorpions broke up the shutout in the fourth quarter when junior Brandon Britton broke loose for a 40 yard scamper.
WL (1-1) 21 6 7 6 - 40
OM (0-2) 0 0 0 7 - 7
WL: Miller 65 run (run failed).
WL: Mynatt 36 catch from Ampofo (Miller run).
WL: Barnes 71 run (Tulkoff kick).
WL: Miller 55 punt return (kick failed).
WL: Barnes 43 run (Tulkoff kick).
OM: Britton 40 run (Andrews kick).
WL: Smith 70 kickoff return (kick failed).
Atholton 28, Howard 7 (Rockburn Park)
The Raiders sprinted to a 28-0 lead at halftime, but slowed down over the final 24 minutes. Howard won the second half, 7-0, on a 1-yard sneak by Ryan Wade late in the third quarter, but it was not nearly enough to win the game.
DeQuan Ellison had seven catches for 165 yards and a touchdown from Brian McMahon, who completed 18 of 25 passes for 275 yards. The senior quarterback also rushed for 117 yards on ten carries. Morgan Powell caught three of McMahon'ss passes totaling 93 yards. Kenny Thomas (54) and Kendall Newsome (47) combined for another 100 rushing yards.
Ean Katz led Atholton's defense with a dozen tackles, and Matt Fields had a pair of sacks.
Ho (1-1) 0 0 7 0 - 7
A (1-1) 14 14 0 0 - 28
A: McMahon 40 run (Haas Kick), 9:09.
A: Ellison 33 pass from McMahon (Haas kick), :18.
A: Thomas 7 run (Haas kick), 4:38.
A: Newsome 1 run (Haas kick), :46.
Ho: Wade 1 run (Lee kick), 2:21.
Glenelg 34, Centennial 0 (Western Regional Park)
Glenelg improved to 2-0 with a 34-0 shut out of Centennial, as sophomore David Brookhart scored on a 71-yard punt return and a 34-yard pass from Mark Darden in the first half. Midway through the third quarter, Jason Park blocked a punt and J.T. Komsa picked it up and ran it in for a touchdown to make it a three-score lead.
G (2-0) 7 7 14 6 - 34
C (0-2) 0 0 0 0 - 0
G: Brookhart 71 punt return (Brister kick).
G: Brookhart 34 pass from Darden (Brister kick).
G: Komsa 20 blocked punt return (Brister kick).
G: Crabill 5 run (Brister kick).
G: Darden 2 run (kick fail).
Reservoir 49, Marriotts Ridge 6 (Western Regional Park)
Reservoir rebounded from a week one loss to River Hill with a dominant performance against Marriotts Ridge at Western Regional.
Cameron Brooks returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and Joey Usher scored three times: on a 27-yard interception return, and on passes of 24 and 17 yards from E.J. Montgomery (5-for-9, 82 yards). Abraham Mbide led the Gators rushers with 89 yards on eight tries.
MR (0-2) 0 6 0 0 - 6
Re (1-1) 21 14 7 7 - 49
Re: Brooks 85 kickoff return (Marsh kick), 11:43.
Re: Usher 27 interception return (Marsh kick), 10:15.
Re: Usher 24 pass from Montgomery (Marsh kick), 1:37.
Re: Frazier 43 run (Marsh kick), 11:42.
MR: 20 interception return (kick failed), 6:45.
Re: Usher 17 pass from Montgomery (Marsh kick), 1:46.
Re: Mbide 12 run (Marsh kick), 4:41.
Re: Simms 25 blocked punt return (Marsh kick), 9:48.
Hammond 36, Mt. Hebron 13 (Rockburn Park)
Devon Paye ran for 193 yards and three touchdowns as Hammond rolled past Mt. Hebron, 36-13.
Sophomore quarterback Tyler Martin threw touchdown passes to Dionte Jones (44 yards) and Garrett Kelley (14 yards). Jones also ran for 41 yards on seven attempts.
Rasheed Lashley (nine tackles) and Humphrey Anuh (11 tackles, sack) led the Golden Bears defense.
Jackson Porter scored a touchdown for the Vikings in the third quarter.
River Hill 35, Long Reach 14 (Cedar Lane Park)